The Reilly brothers from Cavan, Charlie (7), Oisín (5), and Rían (3), were the winners of the pollinators project competition with their entry, ‘No lockdown at this hotel!’.

Destinations and garden staycations for insects

Gourmet Gardener Tara Kate Linnane this week looks at how to make a bug hotel for your own garden and reveals the winners of our pollinator project competition...

The pollinator project is a competition that has been running over the last number of weeks. I have been asking you to send in pictures of your outdoor projects that will attract pollinators and other insects into your gardens and community spaces this year. I have been overwhelmed with the response and the number of fantastic entries.

Individuals, families and communities have been out and about all over the surrounding areas working on their ecological achievements. I have picked a selection of wonderful and colourful entries from all over the country just to acknowledge the hard work and creativity gone into helping our biodiversity.

It is so lovely to see, especially the community spaces where the joy can be shared among groups. Creating colourful corners to brighten up the less busy streets of the times is not only beneficial to our insect life but also positive for our mental health.

Materials needed for making a bug hotel

If you didn't get to enter the competition, it's okay! The insects won't mind, as you can still start your pollinator project at home any time. Here are a few tips on what materials you can use to create a destination for our little friends. You can gather lots of different materials for building a staycation for insects. They can be made up of sticks, bamboo, bits of bricks and timber. In fact you can use any old bits of things, like pots or branches or cardboard rolled up, and lots of other things, to make a hotel in your own garden.

The simplest way to make it is to get a bit of a drainage pipe or an old flowerpot with the bottom missing. You then stuff this with bamboo or sticks, leaving the ends exposed. The insects will naturally find their way into it as they like dark, squashed places. When building a bug hotel, the key is to ensure there are plenty of nooks and crannies, materials that can decompose over time and a variety of hole sizes to cater for different types of insects.

You can top it off by planting some wildflowers close by, so they have a food source.

You can build big or small, colourful or natural, as demonstrated by our competition entries – the main thing is getting out and doing it, and I bet in no time your creation will be full of the most amazing creatures.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

• Tara Kate Linnane is passionate about sustainability and growing all things edible. Together with her husband Barry, she has embarked on a journey of designing edible spaces and getting others started on their gardening adventures.

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